BBC fights against openness again
The BBC believes that you should only use its online services through the proprietary software of one of its preferred technology companies. As a result of this, you can no longer use iplayer-dl/iPlayer Downloader.
The secret truth about WikiLeaks
When the wise man points at the moon, the fool looks at the finger––attributed to Confucius
After using some fenugreek in the curry I cooked this evening, I was left wondering about its etymology.
Brompton status report
After the untimely demise of my previous folding bike, I went and ordered a Brompton, and I’ve been riding it almost daily for the last couple of months.
Losing its lustre
I’ve been programming in Ruby for a long time—since 2002 or so, I think—and I’ve been doing it professionally for six or seven years. And I’ve enjoyed it, mostly. More recently, though, I’ve lost some of that joy, and I’ve been trying to work out why.
Qu’ils regardent du Flash
(‘Let them watch Flash’, after the phrase often misattributed to Marie Antoinette.)
iplayer-dl for .NET
As of 10th December 2010, this program no longer works. Find out why.
White van vs cyclist
I’ve been waiting to tell the story of how a raging white van driver ran into me from behind and destroyed my bicycle. Now that everything is sorted out, I can.
What is the Dunwich Dynamo?
Flash: the new RealPlayer
Flash is just another legacy media player following the slow decline towards irrelevance.
This fish curry doesn’t belong to any particular regional cuisine. It’s just what I threw together tonight, and it came out rather well.
An accessible timetable for Thames Clippers
I’ve been playing around with ways to obtain schedule information for the Thames Clippers service. As a side-effect, I’ve made a more accessible HTML version of their PDF timetable.
How to paint over a rotten badger carcass (BBC News tabloid outrage edition)
Executive summary: some road painters paint lines on the road as contracted.
This is the Unix philosophy: Write programs that do one thing and do it well. —— Douglas McIlroy
Making Korean pickles
Korean pickled food is amazing stuff. It’s a technique that can take something as boring as cabbage and turn it into a piquant, invigorating delicacy. And it’s easy to make at home.
Turning JSONP callbacks into a Ruby API with Johnson
It’s fairly simple to extract the data from a JSONP callback in a reliable, repeatable way once you know how. Here’s how.
I ended up cycling on one of the new Cycle Superhighways last weekend. I’m not really convinced of how useful they actually are.
These are the images that currently decorate the home page of the UK Border Agency website:
You know those tick boxes on websites? The ones that you just have to click that say something like ‘I have read and understood the terms and conditions’? It turns out that they’re a load of old rubbish.
Device discrimination on the internet
The protocol used to enable secure shopping and banking on the internet can also be used to restrict your freedom to choose the hardware and software you use to connect. In fact, it’s already happening.
What is the BBC platform strategy?
Up until now, I could have believed that the BBC’s iPlayer platform strategy was plausibly based on customer reach. Thus, they targeted Windows first, then OS X and Linux and any platform that Adobe Flash supported, then the iPhone and a random smattering of other mobile devices.
The true story of the Greenland Pier closure
Earlier this year, on 16th March 2010, Greenland Pier was precipitately and unexpectedly closed to passengers, inconveniencing Rotherhithe residents who rely on the Thames Clipper service to get to work.
I booked a flight with EasyJet a few months ago. I created an account, and, as is my habit, used an automatically generated password consisting of words and punctuation.
Stupid racists on Facebook
I didn’t write anything about the election while it was happening, but now that it’s all settled, I’ve got some thoughts on the matter.
How to update RubyGems to a specific version
RubyGems can update itself to the latest version:
London cyclists: take care this weekend
The enormous lorries used by construction projects are probably the biggest threats to cyclists on London’s streets. The drivers of these vehicles have limited visibility of other road users (when they are even paying attention), and some of the lorries are classified in a way that makes them exempt from safety legislation.
Apple now officially evil
I’ve been suspicious of Apple since the restrictive App Store first surfaced. I didn’t imagine quite how evil they’d actually turn out to be, though:
They gave up on electoral reform and the composition of the House of Lords. They abandoned the rise in tax on cider. But the government is determined to ram its awful Digital Economy Bill through into statute in the last few days of this parliament.
It’s coming right for us!
In series 1, episode 3 of South Park, the boys go on a hunting trip with Stan’s uncle Jimbo:
A response to Nick Reynolds
I submitted this as a response to Nick Reynolds’s post “Freedom? Open Source?” Tell me why?, and I think it’s worth republishing here.
If I say so, it must be true
The various iPlayer implementations use an XML service to find the stream location. This service is found at:
To : two :: ni : ni
I took a bus home the other day. The newer London buses have computerised displays and audible announcements of the route and upcoming stops (in that slightly odd glued-together way where the intonation doesn’t quite match up):
Steps to install a free iPhone app
How to: get decent service from your bank
Or, how ombudsman is my favourite Swedish loanword.
Experiencing iPhone OS for the first time
I’ve never really used an iPhone or iPod touch (they share the same OS, although only the former has the telephony part) before now. I picked up a second hand iPod touch yesterday to assist me with my iPlayer hacking, and it’s given me the first chance to experience the user interface in any depth.
Why people don’t cycle more
Short answer: because car drivers are arseholes.
A cock-up, not a conspiracy
It turns out that the reason that iPlayer TV downloads aren’t working is not that the BBC have changed anything. It’s just that their system’s broken down again for the second time in a couple of weeks. A page on the iPlayer Help system currently announces:
iPlayer TV downloads are broken
Updated information on the problem: there’s a problem at the BBC’s end
More Westminster woo-woo
Since last I wrote about it, several more MPs have pledged their support for the Dark Arts in the form of EDM 908 in defence of homeopathy.
Old sea forts and 6Music
Do you care about old sea forts?
Goodbye to free Wi-Fi?
The Digital Economy Bill factsheet on Online Infringement of Copyright: Libraries, Universities and Wi-Fi Providers [PDF] (context) raises some serious questions about the legislative competence and technical expertise of the people drafting the Digital Economy Bill. It also describes a bleak future for public access networks.
Which political party is the wackiest?
I don’t like comments
As a general principle, I don’t like comments in source code. It’s not that I consider them onerous to write, I just don’t think that they’re very useful, for three reasons:
I tied together a couple of RubyGem irritations and an idea tonight.
Ruby 1.9 support for iplayer-dl
I’ve fixed the small problem that prevented iplayer-dl from working with Ruby 1.9.
Escape key doesn’t work in Xubuntu Karmic
This is a quick bugfix post that might help someone else.